Achieving relationship marketing effectiveness in business-to-business exchanges
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Relationship marketing research and practice operate according to the paradigm that firms should invest in relationship marketing to build better relationships, which will generate improved financial performance. However, findings that relationship marketing efforts vary in their effectiveness across customers and may even be detrimental to performance challenge this belief. This article, therefore, offers a theoretical model that addresses three key issues: 1) what factors determine a customer’s need for relational governance (relationship orientation); 2) what mediating mechanism captures the negative effects of relationship marketing on performance (exchange inefficiency); and 3) how does a customer’s relationship orientation determine the effectiveness of relationship marketing, thus allowing for effective segmentation. The authors demonstrate in an empirical study that the trust in the salesperson and exchange inefficiency both mediate the effect of relationship marketing on seller financial outcomes. In addition, customers’ relationship orientation moderates the impact of relationship marketing on both trust and exchange inefficiency.
KeywordsRelationship marketing Exchange inefficiency Relational governance Relationship orientation Trust Business-to-business
The authors thank Mark Houston and Murali Mantrala for their input on this project.
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